Lentil ‘Tabbouleh’

Lentil Tabbouleh

This recipe is another winner from my cooking guru, Rene. I just love her food. Its always, always packed with fresh ingredients and full of amazing flavour and her ability to pair flavours together is remarkable! Sigh, I have such a long way to go!

Tabbouleh is a middle eastern salad that is usually made with bulgar or cous cous which you can totally substitute here for the lentils. I really like that this one has lentils as they are so much better for you and packed with protein.

Please adhere to the last step which is to let it sit  for at least 1 hour before serving as the flavours need to develop. Its well worth it! Its a great side to some baked fish or even chicken breasts or serve it as a salad at a braai. So yummy! Thanks Rene! xx

1 tin lentils, well rinsed and drained

3 cups flat leaf parsley, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh mint, coarsely chopped

1/2 pack Ina Paarman  sundried tomato quarters, chopped

1 red onion, finely chopped

2 spring onions, finely chopped

125 ml olive oil (I used half of this to be a bit more ‘fat conscious and it worked perfectly, just halve the lemon juice as well if you are reducing the oil)

125 ml fresh lemon juice

2 discs feta cheese, crumbled

  • Place all ingredients in a large bowl.
  • Season to taste.
  • Mix gently and allow to stand for at least 1 hour before serving.

 

Recipe by Rene Kairuz

 

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New Potato Salad

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This recipe idea is from a friend of mine who did something similar. Its such a great take on potato salad and really livens up what can be a somewhat boring and done to death salad!

500g baby potatoes but in half lengthways

1/3 cup tangy mayonnaise

1/3 cup creamy mayonnaise

1 cup cooked corn (either frozen or cut off the cob)

1/2 cup red onion, finely diced

1 garlic clove, crushed

5 spring onions, finely sliced

2 boiled eggs (optional) – cut into quarters

salt and pepper to taste

 

– Place the potatoes in cold water and bring them up to the boil and boil them until soft (but not falling apart)

– Drain and cool

– Mix the mayonnaise together and add the red onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix into the potatoes. Add the corn and fold through the salad gently.

– sprinkle with the spring onions, garnish with boiled eggs and serve.

 

 

Ricotta Fritters in Tomato Sauce and Grilled Vegetable Salad with a Yoghurt Mint Dressing

Ricotta Fritters and Grilled veg salad

So I decided to go where I have never ventured before, and that was to serve my husband and son a vegetarian meal! I am so keen to do a meat free meal once a week. I think it will save money, widen our horizons, push my creativity to get interesting with vegetables and for our overall health. I did this meal from my Jamie book but I didn’t do his salad, I created one of my own which was really delicious, fresh and sweet! The ricotta fritters were tasty! I used a blob of yoghurt and 2 eggs to moisten the fritters batter a little because the type of ricotta cheese that I used was a bit dry. So try to find a brand (Woolworths has a good one) that sells a moist ricotta. My 15 year old son suggested that I should do some chicken with it next time (boys hey?) but my husband and friend who joined us really enjoyed it. I will make it again!

Ricotta Fritters

For the Sauce:

25g dried porcini mushrooms

4 Anchovy fillets (optional)

1 dried red chilli

2 cloves of garlic

700g passata

8 black olives / Calmata olives (stone in)

½ a bunch of fresh basil

For the Fritters:

1 large egg (or 2 medium eggs)

400g ricotta cheese

1 whole nutmeg, for grating (or 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg)

1 lemon

40g Parmesan cheese

1 heaped tbsp flour

Olive Oil

Balsamic vinegar

For the veggie salad:

3 small peppers (orange, red and yellow)

6 baby marrows

A small bunch of asparagus

Olive oil, salt and pepper

1 tsp BBQ spice

For the Yoghurt dressing:

3 Tbsp plain yoghurt

10ml Dijon mustard

1 handful fresh mint, finely chopped

A squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

  • Put the porcini mushrooms in a mug and cover with boiling water.
  • Crack the egg into a mixing bowl, add the ricotta, finely grate in ¼ of the nutmeg (or add the ground nutmeg) and the zest of the lemon. Add the parmesan and flour and then beat together.
  • Put 1 tbsp of olive oil into the frying pan, then use a tablespoon to spoon in 8 large dollops of the mixture, turning carefully when nicely golden.
  • Put the anchovies (if using) and 1 tablespoon of olive oil into the casserole pan, crumble in the dried chilli, and squash in the unpeeled garlic through a garlic crusher.
  • Finely chop and add the porcini with half of their soaking water and the passata. Season with salt (remember that anchovies are naturally salty) and pepper and bring to the boil.
  • Squash and add the olives, discarding the stones.
  • Pick and reserve a few basil leaves, then chop the rest and add to the sauce.
  • Let that simmer for a few minutes.
  • **I found that I had to add about a tablespoon of Xylitol (to keep the calories down) to the sauce, but you can add some sugar if you like to offset the bitterness of the tomatoes.**
  • Meanwhile, chop up your vegetables and put them into a mixing bowl, drizzle with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and BBQ spice and rub all of that into the veggies. Then in batches, put into a hot griddle pan until tender (but not soft!). Set aside and continue until all your veggies are done.
  • Place the veggies into a serving dish or platter to cool slightly.
  • Mix all the yoghurt dressing ingredients together and put ‘blobs’ of the dressing over the veggies.
  • Place the fritters on top of the sauce, then scatter over the reserved basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar (this makes a BIG difference!) and serve with lemon wedges and the Vegetable salad.

Ricotta Fritters and Sauce Recipe by Jamie Oliver

The Veggie salad recipe is mine.

Enjoy! xx

Char-grilled Baby Butternut Salad with Lemon, Garlic, Feta and Mint

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I have been eyeing out these little baby butternuts for ages now and finally my curiosity got the better of me and I bought them. They are teeeeny tiny little butternuts. About the size of a small baby marrow. But once I had bought then, I didn’t have a clue what to do with them.

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I did a bit of research and came across Jane-Anne Hobbs’ Scrumptious blog. She has a recipe for them that really appealed to my flavour senses. I tried it, I loved it and I will make this again and again! It was amazing! And so great to find and try a new veggie that tastes and looks great on a plate! If you don’t have baby butternut you could substitute with baby marrows. I served this with some plain old ordinary baked fish fillets. I topped the fish with this salad and then gave it all another drizzle of the dressing that was left over and it worked amazingly well and elevated those boring old fillets to a much higher standard! But I can imagine it going well with anything really! Absolutely gorgeous flavours!

10 baby butternut squashes

Olive oil for rubbing

Juice of a lemon

For the dressing:

4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled

Juice of a large lemon (about 3 T; 45 ml)

130 ml fruity olive oil

a pinch of salt

freshly milled black pepper

3 T (45 ml) fresh, finely chopped mint

A dash of green Tabasco sauce

crumbled feta cheese

salt and freshly milled black pepper

–   Heat a ridged griddle pan on a hot plate for 7-10 minutes, or until very, very hot. Wash and wipe each little butternut squash well to remove any furry bits. Cut the squashes, lengthways into four ‘leaves’. Using your fingers, rub each slice, top and bottom, with a little olive oil.

–   Place the slices on the griddle, in batches, and cook until dark-gold lines appear on the underside, and the edges of each slice begin to darken. Add more olive oil, if necessary. Flip the slices over. When they are nicely striped on both sides, remove them from the pan and put aside on a plate. When all the slices have been browned, pile them back into the griddle pan, turn the heat down to medium-low, wait for a few minutes for the pan to cool slightly, and squeeze over the juice of one lemon, plus a tablespoon of water. Cover the griddle pan a saucepan lid of the right size. Leave the slices to steam gently until they are just cooked: that is, tender-crisp, but not raw, and certainly not mushy.

–   In the meantime, make the dressing. Finely chop the garlic, or smash it to pieces with a mortar and pestle. Add the olive oil, salt, pepper, lemon juice, mint and bash it all together in the pestle and mortar until smooth and slightly creamy. If you don’t have a pestle and mortar you can blitz it in a small food processor. Let the mixture sit and infuse for ten minutes while you finish cooking the butternut slices.

–   Lift the cooked baby butternut slices from the pan, arrange on a big platter, drizzle the dressing over it and allow to cool for five minutes. Crumble the feta cheese over the salad, and set aside, at room temperature, for 20 minutes to an hour or two so the flavours can mingle.  Don’t put it in the fridge.

Serves 6

Original recipe by Jane-Anne Hobbs, slightly tweaked by me.

Photo courtesy of Jane-Anne Hobbs

Creamy Tomato Soup

Tomato Soup Pic

Pure decadence and comfort food! This gorgeous soup will put a smile on your face and make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. One of the reasons I love winter! 🙂 Enjoy xxx

2 Cans of peeled tomatoes

5 onions, finely diced

2 chicken stock cubes, crumbled

250g cream cheese (Philadelphia brand is good)

Freshly ground salt and pepper

2 bay leaves

800 mls water

125 mls fresh cream

Parsley to garnish (optional)

-In a large saucepan, saute the onions in a little bit of oil until softened slightly. Add the tinned tomatoes, water, stock cubes, bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to a fast simmer. Cover and cook for 30 minutes.

– Remove the bay leaves. Add the cream cheese and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

– Blitz the soup with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth.

– Add the cream, adjust the seasoning and server garnished with a touch of parsely.

Serve with cheesy garlic bread

Photo courtesy of google.com

Roast Baby Marrows with Sun Dried Tomato

marrows in sun dried tomatoes

When this dish is in the oven it smells amazing!!! Tastes good too! 🙂 Its out of that diet cookbook that I have. Its a great way to do roast veg. You can add other veggies in too if you like. The oil from the sun-dried tomatoes add such incredible depth of flavour. Its a goodie! If you don’t like patty pans, you can pop in baby butternut, or baby gems or anything really!

6 small yellow patty pans

6 small baby marrows, sliced

1 x 240g packet sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (Ina Paarman’s brand is great)

6 fresh basil leaves

– Preheat the oven to 200 C

– Clean and prepare the patty pans and baby marrows, and place in a roasting pan.

– Pour over the sun-dried tomatoes and oil

– Finely chop the basil and mix into the veggie mixture

– Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serves 4 – 6

Recipe from the “The Ultimate Diet Solution Cookbook”

Gordon Ramsay’s Fragrant Fried Rice

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This is a super fast and easy way of doing fried rice. Goes so well with any kind of stir fry or dish with an asian twist.

1 clove garlic, chopped finely

1 red chilli, finely chopped (keep seeds for extra heat, leave seeds out if you want a milder kick)

1 x 3 cm piece of fresh root ginger, chopped finely

4 or 5 spring onions, sliced

1 x broccoli head, trimmed so you just have the flowers

+- 2 cups sliced spring greens (can be substituted with chinese cabbage, normal cabbage or baby spinach)

2 eggs, whisked

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cups cooked thai rice (jasmine or basmati works well)

A dash of fish sauce

–   In a pan, heat the oil and fry the garlic, ginger, chilli for a minute.

–   Add the broccoli flowers and the other greens

–   Add a touch of water to steam the veggies (about 3 – 4 tbsps)

–   Add the cooked rice.

–   Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and the spring onions and a dash of fish sauce. Allow the egg mixture to scamble in the well and once cooked, incorporate it into the rice and veggies.

–   Season and serve with sliced lime and spring onions.

Perfect Roast Potatoes

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Potatoes and I have had a love hate relationship. I find that you never know what you are going to get. They are unreliable man! However, I discovered these guys at woolies the other day. Due to my fear of  bad, waxy potatoes I have not really ventured into buying other types. When I saw these at Woolies, I decided to take a risk and try them. They were described as “floury” potatoes, which is what I wanted for my roast potatoes.  I realise that I may be being pretty blonde, everyone on the planet apart from me has probably tried this type of potato. But I tell you, I will never turn back!

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– Peel and chop some red skin potatoes into wedges. Put the wedges in a pot of COLD water with a tsp of salt and bring it  up to the boil.  Boil them until a fork easily goes through them. About 15 minutes.

– Drain them in a colander and let them dry out. Give them a shake in the colander to agitate them a bit.

– So here’s the secret ingredient ( a great tip from Gordon Ramsay)  – sprinkle some Semolina Flour on them and shake them around a bit more.

– Heat some sunflower oil on a baking tray in a hot oven (190C) for a few minutes, take the baking tray out and carefully put your wedges on the tray with a good sprinkle of salt.

– Roast for about 15 minutes, turn them over and roast for a further 15 minutes, or until beautifully golden.

* The Semolina trick is brilliant and really crisps up the outside of the roast potato, and to my delight, the red skins indeed had a gorgeous fluffy centre. Perfection!!

Photos courtesy of google.com

Gorgeous Butternut Soup

pumpkin-soup

This recipe was given to me about 10 years ago by a friend of mine and I have never used anything else! Sometimes I have popped in some sweet potatoes for a difference and that works so well. But this is honestly the nicest butternut soup recipe!  Serve topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of paprika and enjoy!

500g peeled butternut – cubed

25ml oil

10mls butter

1 large onion, chopped

1 heaped tbs sugar

2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 carrots, diced

5ml ground ginger

5ml ground cinnamon

1 litre chicken stock

250ml milk

5ml honey

2ml paprika

salt to taste

FOR A DIFFERENT TASTE, ADD 1tsp CURRY POWDER (optional)

– Add butternut to oil and butter, together with onion, potatoes, carrots, ginger and cinnamon. Toss together over low heat for about 5 mins, then add stock, milk honey, sugar paprika and salt to taste.

– Bring to the boil, half cover and simmer until vegetables are soft, cool a little and then puree until smooth.

– Adjust seasoning, then reheat over low heat, stirring and serve with either chopped spring onions or parsley and paprika on top.

Hint: Add a little more salt and then put in a generous amount of cream into the soup itself – delicious!

Recipe by Carol Elliott

Butternut and Feta ‘Hummus’

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A lovely vegetable ‘hummus’ thats divine as an easy and healthy snack or even as a light, meat-free meal!

1 large butternut, halved and seeded

Olive Oil

Salt and milled pepper

1 Tbsp (15ml) Tahini (sesame paste)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 tsp (5ml) each ground coriander and cumin

1 tbsp (15ml) lemon juice

1 tsp (5ml) chopped flat leaf (italian) parsley

1 disk (50g) feta cheese, crumbled

– Preheat your oven to 180 C

– Place butternut in an ovenproof dish, brush with oil and season. Cover with foil and roast for 45 minutes or until tender. Leave to cool and scoop out flesh.

– Blitz butternut, tahini, garlic, coriander, cumin and lemon juice until smooth.

– Stir through parsley, seasoning and feta.

– Drizzle with olive oil and serve with toasted pita breads.

Recipe from Fresh Living Magazine